The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Local news

April 4, 2013

Leonardo's honors supporters, raises $17,500 for scholarship

ENID, Okla. — Four award recipients were recognized Thursday during Leonardo’s Discovery Warehouse’s annual awards dinner and auction.

Last year, more than 90,000 people from 44 states, 10 countries and 50 Oklahoma counties visited the hands-on arts and science museum, said Executive Director Julie Baird.

One purpose of Thursday’s dinner was to honor some of the people who performed distinguished service in 2012.

Christy Northcutt was named Volunteer of the Year.

“Leonardo’s is for children,” she said. “It’s unique to our community. Families don’t have to travel outside of Enid to find a quality children’s museum. I also appreciate that Adventure Quest is still the largest volunteer-built program.”

Adventure Quest is the outdoor science park adjacent to Leonardo’s.

Other award winners named Thursday were Doug and Fern Boyle and children, Family of the Year; John D. and Virginia G. Groendyke, Friend of Leonardo’s; and John and Susan Bowers, Leonardo’s Legacy for more than a decade of service.

Volunteers are important to Leonardo’s operations. Baird said the museum had 345 unduplicated volunteers last year, providing more than 7,000 hours of service.

“As always, I am humbled and inspired by the many individuals who give of their time, their talents and their money to keep Leonardo’s moving forward each year,” she said.

The other focus of the evening was to raise funds for the 2013 scholarship program by way of silent and live auctions. More than $25,000 worth of merchandise was donated by area individuals and businesses. Auction coordinator Tabitha Buller also secured items such as Oklahoma City Thunder, OSU and OU basketballs, St. Louis Cardinals memorabilia and NASCAR tickets, as well as other sports memorabilia items and hunting packages.

The auction raised $17,500 for the scholarship fund.

In 2012, Leonardo’s celebrated its 20th year since found Helen Walker Garriott received the articles of incorporation declaring Leonardo’s a not-for-profit organization, Baird said. The museum opened three years later, in September 1995.

While being open 20 years is a cause for celebration, Baird said Leonardo’s is thriving, and the board of directors is preparing for the next 20 years and “millions” of children who will visit.

“In some ways, 2012 was our biggest year to date,” Baird said. “Family memberships topped 1,200 for the first time ever, including 225 family scholarships.

“Besides operating the museum and Adventure Quest, we also taught more than 1,000 art and science classes, both on-site and in the community. And, we gave back to our community a record $91,290, providing museum and program access for low-income children and families.”

Leonardo’s capital campaign passed the $1 million mark in donations, and staff finalized what the inside of the museum will look like at the end of the project. The first new permanent exhibit, Tinkering @ Leonardo’s, opened March 15.

Table sponsors for the event were AdvancePierre Foods, city of Enid, Corbin and Merz Architects, Craig and Teresa Vance, Enid MotoPhoto, Envirotech Engineering, Ewbank, Hennigh and McVay Law Firm, Groendyke Transport, Hiland Partners, Integris Bass Baptist Health Center, Johnston Enterprises, Kevin and Julie Baird, KGWA/KOFM Radio/ Williams Broadcasting, Mark and Kim Zaloudek, McDonald’s of Enid, Scott and Christy Northcutt, Northwest Pediatrics, Oklahoma Gas and Electric, Park Avenue Thrift, Security National Bank, Troy and Jill Phillips, and Ward Petroleum.

For information about Leonardo’s capital campaign, the annual scholarship fund or upcoming events or activities, go to www.leonardos.org or call 233-2787.

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